Yoga is an ancient practice that focuses on uniting the mind, body and spirit through physical poses, breathing techniques and meditation. Having the proper yoga mat is an important part of your practice, providing cushioning, grip and space to move through poses safely. When choosing a yoga mat, considering the length is crucial for comfort and correct alignment. The ideal length of your yoga mat depends mostly on your height and arm span. Here is an in-depth look at how to select the perfect yoga mat length for your needs.
Choose Yoga Mat According to Your Height
Your height is the primary factor to consider when determining ideal yoga mat length:
For practitioners under 5 feet tall – a standard 68 inch mat will likely work fine.
For people 5 feet to 5 feet 8 inches tall – the standard 68 inch mat will suit most needs. This allows enough room for foundational poses without taking up too much studio or home space.
For practitioners over 5 feet 8 inches tall – opt for a longer mat in the 74 to 78 inch range. The extra length provides room to fully extend in poses like warrior and twisting lunges without your limbs hanging off the mat.
For extra tall yogis over 6 feet – consider an extra long mat up to 84 inches. These spacious mats provide ample room for wide stances and long limbs to move freely without adjustment.
Arm Span Considerations
The length of your arms and legs in relation to your height can also impact ideal mat size:
For those with a longer arm span and wingspan relative to their height, choose a longer mat in the 74 to 78 inch range. The extra space allows you to fully extend in arm balances and wide legged poses without readjusting.
Practitioners with a shorter arm span can likely manage with a standard 68 inch mat. The slightly more compact size won’t limit you even with your arms fully extended.
Yoga Style Influences Your Choice of Mat
The types of yoga you practice can also dictate your perfect mat length:
For very active practices like vinyasa flow, having a longer 74-78 inch mat allows plenty of room to move through flowing sequences without feeling constrained.
For gentler or more stationary practices like hatha, yin or restorative yoga, a 68 inch standard size provides adequate space without excess material.
Hot yoga requires a grippy mat to prevent slipping and sweating. Seek out mats with an extra sticky surface specifically made for hot studios in your ideal length.
Try Yoga Mat Before You Buy
If possible, test out different mat lengths in person at your local yoga studio:
Lie down on the mat in savasana, extending your arms overhead and legs long. Ensure there is no hanging off the edges and you can lie fully extended without adjusting.
Move through foundational poses like downward facing dog, warrior II and wide legged forward fold to guarantee adequate room.
An ideal mat will accommodate your whole body without requiring you to readjust mid-pose. A too short mat means that your limbs may hang off the edges.
Other Key Features
In addition to length, ensure your mat has the right combination of these features:
- Thickness – Thicker mats provide more cushioning for sensitive joints and knees. Consider 3/16 inch or 1/4 inch thickness for ample support.
- Materials – Natural rubber or PVC materials give the right blend of cushion and grip. Ensure any surface coating provides optimal traction when sweating.
- Weight – Heavier mats stay grounded during practice but are trickier to transport. Choose lighter weight mats under 5 pounds for easy portability if that’s a priority.
- Care – Many quality mats are machine washable for easy cleaning. Choose low maintenance materials if you don’t want fussy upkeep.
Find Your Perfect Fit Yoga Mat
Considering your unique body proportions and yoga practice allows you to select the ideal mat size to complement your practice. Test different lengths and focus on all features to find the perfect supportive mat for your needs. With the right size mat, you can move freely through your practice without distraction or adjustment.